Global slavery expert is honoured for his work

 Kevin bales hon
31 Dec 2016 00:15:00.000

Professor Kevin Bales from The University of Nottingham has been appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the Queen’s New Year Honours.

Professor Bales received the honour for his ‘services to the global antislavery movement’.

The Order of St Michael and St George is awarded to people who hold high office or who render extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country, and can also be awarded for important or loyal service in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs. The Order is the sixth most senior in the British Honours System.

Professor Bales said: “I am thrilled to be receiving this honour. I am especially thrilled that the global anti-slavery movement is getting this kind of recognition. This is not an honour for me alone, but for all the people who are working towards wiping out slavery.”

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‘A roadmap for slavery’s end’

There are more slaves alive today than in any point in human history. Around the world, 46 million people are forced to work for no pay. But a new anti-slavery movement has responded to this challenge and shown that a world without slavery is possible.

Professor Bales is a leading figure in the anti-slavery movement and has advised numerous governments and UN on trafficking and slavery policy. He has worked closely with public, private, and voluntary sectors to put forward specific policy recommendations, many of them tested in the field or enacted as law.

His book ‘Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy’ has been published in 10 languages. The film version won a Peabody and two Emmys. His research was named one of the ‘100 World-Changing Discoveries of the past 50 years’ by the Association of British Universities.  Desmond Tutu has said of his research: “Today we finally have the means to bring millions of slaves to freedom.” Bill Clinton has called his research a roadmap for slavery’s end.

Guiding the rescue and rehabilitation of millions of slaves

For 20 years, local and national antislavery groups have used Professor Bales’ work to guide the rescue and rehabilitation of thousands of enslaved people. He has directed and managed voluntary initiatives and foundations, and has brought together the business community to rid their supply chains of slave labour.

Professor Todd Landman, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences, said: “The School of Politics and International Relations, the Faculty of Social Sciences and the University are thrilled with Professor Kevin Bales receiving a New Year’s Honours for his lifetime work on studying and combating slavery.

“Professor Bales is a world leading authority on contemporary slavery, is leading our educational programmes on contemporary slavery, and is leading various teams on different research projects on slavery at Nottingham. His global connections and commitment to this important and timely issue are exceptionally strong and hugely inspirational to our staff, students and stakeholders.”

The University of Nottingham is home to the world’s largest group of rights and justice scholars – 700 staff members, 300 postgraduate students and 22 research centres across all five of its faculties joining together as the Research Priority Area in Rights and Justice – giving the University a unique ability to tackle global challenges.

Outstanding achievement

The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Sir David Greenaway said: “I would like to congratulate Professor Kevin Bales for this outstanding achievement. The tireless work which Professor Bales does in helping to understand and tackle global slavery is something we can all be extremely proud and I am absolutely delighted it is receiving public recognition in this way.”

Professor Bales is not the only person at the University to be recognised in the New Year Honours list. Shona Powell, the Director of Nottingham Lakeside Arts has been appointed an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for her work in the arts. Most notably she has been recognised for transforming the University of Nottingham’s arts centre and museum into a major national asset.

As a passionate advocate for the arts Shona has engaged with children and families, as well as hard to reach communities, and ensured the programme of activities around productions and exhibitions at Nottingham Lakeside Arts is underpinned by learning.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


Story credits

More information is available from Charlotte Anscombe, in the Press Office at The University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 74 84 417,    


Charlotte Anscombe – Media Relations Manager (Arts and Social Sciences)

Email:  Phone:+44 (0)115 74 84 417 Location: University Park

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